Indian-born American TV show host and writer Padma Lakshmi is exiting 'Top Chef', the reality food show she has been anchoring since its Season 2, reports 'Variety'.The reality show announced on social media that 'Top Chef' Season 20 will be her last run with the beloved Bravo cooking competition series. Lakshmi's news arrives just a week before the Season 20 finale, adds 'Variety'.
"After much soul-searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave 'Top Chef'," Padma wrote in a statement. "Having completed a glorious 20th season as host and executive producer, I am extremely proud to have been part of building such a successful show and of the impact it has had in the worlds of television and food."
Continuing with her announcement post, quoted by 'Variety', Padma said: "After 17 years, many of the cast and crew are like family to me and I will miss working alongside them dearly. I feel it's time to move on and need to make space for [her travel and food show] 'Taste the Nation', my books and other creative pursuits."
'Top Chef' kicked off its run in 2006 with a San Francisco-set season hosted by Katie Lee Joel. Lakshmi joined the show in Season 2 and has served as host for 19 seasons.Her hosting prowess, says 'Variety', combined with her chemistry with judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons helped turn 'Top Chef' into a reality competition show phenomenon.
Padma's hosting stint on "Top Chef" has garnered her four Emmy nominations for outstanding reality show host. She has received an additional 10 Emmy nominations for outstanding competition programme as a producer on the show.